MPSF Opener Goes to CSUN in Straight Sets Over Cal Baptist

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Sam Holt and Jakub Ciesla combined for 32 kills as Cal State Northridge was dominant in its home opener sweeping the visiting Cal Baptist Lancers in the MPSF opener for both teams Wednesday night at The Matadome.

Holt led the way for the Matadors (1-1, 1-0 MPSF) with a career-high 19 kills as the sophomore hit an impressive .500 on 30 attacks. Ciesla, who put down a team-high 12 kills in the season-opener against Pacific, eclipsed that with 13 kills (.333) to go with six digs, four blocks and one ace.

"Sam had 30 sets and hit .500 and Jakub had 24 sets and hit .333, those are great numbers," said CSUN Head Coach Jeff Campbell. "Travis (Magorien) had a great serving night in addition to a good setting night so overall I'm very pleased to be 1-0 in conference."

Magorien posted 35 assists and matched his career-high with three aces as the Matadors hit a robust .444 (50-14-81) for the match. CSUN limited a Lancer team that hit .490 in their season-opener to a .250 (32-14-72) team hitting clip. Junior Kyle Stevenson also added nine kills (.385) and a match-high eight digs in the victory.

The Matadors got out to a quick start in the first two sets as CSUN snapped an early 3-3 tie in set one by outscoring the Lancers 6-3 over the next nine points to take a 9-6 lead. A Holt kill gave CSUN its largest lead of the frame at 15-9 and the Matadors maintained at least a five-point cushion until Cal Baptist made a late run to trim the lead to 23-19. A Ciesla kill set the Matadors up with set point at 24-19 and after two Lancer points, Ciesla's put away gave CSUN the 25-21 win.

The Matadors outscored Cal Baptist 7-3 over the first 10 points of set two and despite the Lancers closing to within one at 10-9, 11-10, 12-11 and 14-13 they could never overcome the CSUN lead. Holt's kill gave the Matadors a 15-13 lead and propelled CSUN on a set-deciding 9-3 run which put the Matadors in front 23-16. But Cal Baptist engineered a late 4-0 run to get within 23-20 but a kill from Greg Faulkner and a Lancer service error put the Matadors up two sets following the 25-21 win.

The third and final set proved to be the tighest of the match as the lead changed hands four times and the score was knotted up a total of 13 times. After CSUN jumped out to a 6-4 lead, the Lancers battled back to take their first lead of the night at 8-7 following a Johannes Brink ace. CBU held the lead until Holt's kill put CSUN back in front 11-10. Another kill from Holt opened up a two-point cushion (16-14) for the Matadors but an ensuing 3-0 run for the Lancers put Cal Baptist back on top 17-16.

A Brink service error on the next point sent CSUN on a 5-0 run, two points coming on Magorien aces, which proved to be the difference in the set. Leading 24-18, Ciesla's attack was stuffed by the Lancers but Holt's putaway on the ensuing point gave the Matadors their first sweep since defeating Stanford 3-0 on Mar. 29 of last season.

"Every team in this conference is good," added Campbell. "So I'm glad to have a little momentum going into a tough match at BYU on Friday."

Brink wound up leading Cal Baptist (0-2, 0-1 MPSF) with 10 kills while hitting .318 on 22 swings.

Cal State Northridge finishes its MPSF opening week this Friday night as the Matadors travel to Provo, Utah to take on ninth-ranked BYU at 6 p.m. PST.



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